Reading (RED-ing') Mayor Tom McMahon on Monday [August 2] announced a new online "Wall of Shame" featuring blighted properties.H/T AP
McMahon says the property owners' names will be posted along with pictures and addresses. He says he's serving notice to property owners who fail to take action on eyesore properties.
The Wall of Shame is featured here - (otherwise known as "Mayor McMahon's Wall of Shame.")
This "Wall" brings to mind several points.
- Reading enacted its own rental inspection ordinance a number of years ago. Obviously, the ordinance has not rid the city of "blight."
- Many of the properties pictured on the website probably have a tax sale or two in their title history, thus making it impossible for the owner to undertake expensive repairs without first obtaining clear title through litigation.
- The local PROA chapter has identified many "blighted" properties as being owned by the City itself (much like Harrisburg). It will be interesting to see if the "Wall" ever pictures any of those properties.
The second item on the above list helps to explain the first and third items. No matter how many ordinances the City enacts or how many fees the City imposes, the City cannot legislate "blight" out of existence. Once a property has been sold at a tax sale, it becomes nearly impossible to obtain financing without litigation or a payoff to the prior owner. These properties often end up being owned by the City when no buyers can be found at subsequent tax sales.